Sources of Electricity Generation in America


Very interesting breakdown that helps one understand the dominance of various sources of energy for electricity consumption.

-Examine the importance of coal in the Appalachian region and how much of our nation’s emissions come from this region. It seems to me that we should clearly be supporting natural gas development in this region, not deriding it through “anti-fracking” campaigns.  This is a time when natural gas is one of the only sources of energy that can truly compete against dirt-cheap coal energy.  We should be developing our natural gas infrastructure exponentially.  As quoted from Jeff McMahon in the Forbes article, “4 Reasons Coal Declines Even as Natural Gas Prices Rise: EIA:”

“While price remains the primary factor in the short-term race between gas and coal, four other factors help gas displace coal in the long term, according to EIA:

  1. Efficiency: The efficiency of power generation from gas means it competes with coal even when it costs 1.5 times as much. “When the ratio of natural gas prices to coal prices is approximately 1.5 or lower, a typical natural gas-fired combined-cycle plant has lower generating costs than a typical coal-fired plant.”
  2. Competitiveness: “For new builds, natural gas and renewables generally are more competitive than coal.”
  3. Flexibility: “In general, combined-cycle (gas) units are considered to be more flexible than steam turbines. They can ramp their output up and down more easily, and their start-up and shutdown procedures involve less time and expense.”
  4. Regulation: “The interaction of fuel prices and environmental rules is a key factor in coal plant retirements. AEO2013 assumes that all coal-fired plants have flue gas desulfurization equipment (scrubbers) or dry sorbent injection systems installed by 2016 to comply with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Higher coal prices, lower wholesale electricity prices (often tied to natural gas prices), and reduced use may make investment in such equipment uneconomical in some cases, resulting in plant retirements.””

-Take a look at the importance of nuclear power in creating clean energy for our nation

-The West Coast has an impressive amount of clean energy sources and Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Maine in particular, seem to have developed an incredible amount of hydroelectric energy generation